Master of Forest Conservation student Jonathan Dionne writes an op-ed about tree stewardship

Master of Forest Conservation student Jonathan Dionne writes an op-ed about tree stewardship

Jonathan Dionne, a Master of Forest Conservation student at the Daniels Faculty, is spending the summer interning with the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association as a tree stewardship program lead. Jonathan has been involved in advancing the neighbourhood association’s partnership with Neighbourwoods, a community tree stewardship program developed by associate professor Danijela Puric-Mladenovic and lecturer Andy Kenney. He recently wrote an op-ed about his work for

Jonathan writes:

I want everyone to look out at your front yard, look at the trees. How many trees do you have? What species are they? Are they in good health? Now, go to your backyard and do the same thing. Consider the trees in your neighbour’s yards, the trees that line the streets or the trees in parks. It is important to remember that each individual tree is contributing to something much bigger, an ecosystem that supports so much life and provides many unseen benefits.

Starting my internship with the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association (LBNA), I was thrilled to see their involvement in so much, including planting trees, Tree Fest and their work on the Neighbourwoods tree inventory project. It is clear that the LBNA cares about the trees of Long Branch, and I have been thrilled to get to know this amazing community and to work on the LBNA Tree Stewardship projects this summer.

Some may ask: “What is tree stewardship?” and “Why are we promoting it?”

It’s simple, actually: tree stewardship is the job of monitoring and maintaining trees. The important thing to remember is action. Urban trees face many additional stresses from living in the city, so they require more attention than a tree in the forest. This summer has been hot and dry, don’t forget that your trees need water too! Trees need deep long watering, as opposed to the shallow frequent watering of grass.

Another way to help get your tree get enough water is with mulch. Mulch benefits your tree by retaining water, regulating temperature, providing physical protection and more.

The City of Toronto has been planting new trees to raise the average canopy cover of Toronto from 27 per cent to 40 per cent. Planting trees in your own yard helps contribute to this goal; however, most canopy coverage comes from older trees. These older trees have massive canopies that filter pollutants from the air and soil as well as reduce storm water run-off and provide shading and cooling for the community.

Unfortunately, once the tree is planted, the resources aren’t always available to look after them for the remainder of their lives. This is why we need your help as tree stewards.

At the beginning of the article I asked about the trees in your area, and if you didn’t know the information, that’s OK! Learning is a part of stewardship too. And that’s why we have a lot of fun and exciting events going on this summer including: Tree Walks, Tree workshops and the Tree festival!

All of this and more is made possible thanks to the contributions from our summer inventory team: Nicole, Savannah, Evan, Lucas as well as Richard, who is working on our LBNA Tree app.

We have one last member of our team: you! Get involved yourself, learn something new, plant a tree or give a tree some water and a hug. Give back to nature and conserve the beautiful trees in our amazing Etobicoke communities.

If you would like more information on any of our projects visit our website at

Or register for an upcoming event at


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